Official reception planned for Samoan weightlifter

Plans are in motion for an official reception to honour newly crowned Olympic silver medallist Ele Opeloge after her medal finally arrived in Samoa.

Opeloge initially finished fourth in the women's over 75kg division at the 2008 Beijing Games but a reanalysis of samples from nine years ago found the silver and bronze medallists tested positive for banned substances.

She was confirmed as the silver medallist last year but the President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Jerry Wallwork, said the situation dragged on because the previous winner refused to give her medal up.

"From as far as what I've been told, the previous winner or whoever had it before would not own up the medal - not give it up," he said.

"And after many requests and many attempts by the International Olympic Committee I think she still didn't give it, so eventually they had to source out a new medal, get it engraved and send it to Samoa."

"It's delayed it already. We've had to wait eight years and then on top of that we've had to wait another couple of months so this whole process it's really unfair for countries like us, like Samoa, smaller countries."

Wallwork said Ele Opeloge is currently in New Zealand but they hope to host an official presentation in Samoa soon to celebrate her achievement.

"It has dragged out quite a bit - it's taken a couple of months since they advised us but nevertheless better late than never and I can confirm now that the medal is actually here," he said.

"It arrived last week and it's a proud moment, a very happy moment for Samoa. It's very unfortunate that Ele's not here at the moment but we are waiting on it to get her across.

"She's in New Zealand, she's living in New Zealand and she's sorting out some issues with her residency before we bring her across for the official presentation in front of the Government and in front of the country.

"We are hoping it will be very soon," Wallwork said.

"The sooner we can get it done the better so we can have it all done and get it out of the way. It has dragged out quite a bit and finally we want to get the presentation, get Ele here, put it on her neck. You know, the medal is here but it doesn't feel right that the winner is not here."

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